World Record Corn Yield
On The Farm With David Hula
David Hula, on the back of his new 532 bushel per acre corn yield world record gave us a tour of his farm on the banks of the James river in Virginia. David sat down with us to discuss his thoughts regarding the new world record and the lessons he picked up along the way that can benefit other farmers.
In 2015 we had our highest full farm average corn yield since we’ve been cropping at least 500 acres of corn.”
Several years ago, David wasn’t sure that he’d ever reach 400 bushels an acre. Now, at over 532 bushels per acre of corn, he’s feeling blessed.
“It’s an a-ha moment,” he said. “It’s like, wow that did work. Now, we just need to put it on more acres. And then share the news with other folks to see if they can duplicate that.”
Emergence: A Critical Time For Yield
“In achieving high yields we’ve identified several things that are critical, and the first thing would be emergence,” David started.
“When you can get the corn off to a good even stand, that seems to give us the best opportunity — to start off with a good foundation. When we see that first spike-let coming out of the ground we want every plant to be up within 4-6 hours of that initial plant coming up. If you start seeing 8, 12, 24 hours, 2 days difference in plant emergence then your plants are starting to become competitive with one another down the road.”
“We’ve been striving to improve the even emergence on our corn, and we started using the Invigor8 product from Genesis Ag. And boy, we started seeing some great benefits from that — even emergence as well as better plant health and root development. From the time the corn emerges, even in the stressed conditions we often run into, we just see a better crop.
“When we go out to our customers and offer them the opportunity to improve their yields, Invigor8 is the one product that we can assure them that they are going to have a return on their investment. Most growers want to test it, and we applaud them for that. They’ll test it, and next year they’re gonna wanna put more, next year they’re gonna put more, and then before long it’s gonna be on all the acres that they have that feel comfortable planting with.
“In our experience, you know, when something has worked continuously over and over again, and you test it, at some point in time you just gotta stop testing it because it performs. And, this is one of those. To me this product is a no-brainer, and it will give you the return on your investment.”
“The second thing that we really like to see is plant health. We are big into plant health, and one of those areas a lot of people overlook are micro nutrients. We’ve gotten a benefit from applying micro nutrients.
“We’ve been pulling tissue samples on a weekly basis and we’ve identified some micro nutrient challenges that we’ve had over time. And, Genesis’ MicroBoom has been beneficial to all our crops — not only our corn but our soy, wheat, barley, and oat crops.
“Some of our plants are just as green as if they were in July and we’re picking 17 to 22 percent moisture corn. That’s just unheard of. And then, test weights are a whole lot more than they’ve been in the past. When you can get the crop to stay green and all the energy goes into that ear, then it allows it to pick up test weight.”
“As we push those yields up in these yield contests, or some plots we learn stuff from, then we incorporate that into our overall production. That allows our farm averages to go up to where this past year, 2015, we achieved our highest farm average since we went over 500 acres of corn.
Next we start identifying how we can improve our soil.
“The health of the soil dictates what the health of the plant is going to be.”
“As growers start to push yield and they’re starting to look at plant health, they also look at soil health, and they need to look at Revita-N. Me, being a producer, I’m very tight with a dollar, just like we all should be. And Revita-N offers a lot of benefits to your soil. We’ve noticed for the last several years that we’ve been using Revita-N a reduced amount of nitrogen that we need to apply. And, we see better soil health and plant health.
“We get soil scientists coming out here and they probe the soil and they say, ‘wow, this has changed’.
“We’ve improved the soil, because you’re fixing the micro-climate right there in the root zone. You know, I’m not a chemist, or a soil scientist, or an experimentalist by trade, but if something works, and I can get a return on my investment, then it’s well worth me applying it on more acres.
“We’re seeing a better root system, root hairs, and how the roots are moving through the soil. We’re seeing more organisms, and the tilth in our soil is just unbelievable. We have better water holding capacity and when we get into stress periods, the plant seems to combat that very well.”
Moving Forward - Maximizing Corn Yield per Acre
With all of David’s success he’s maintained a humble attitude and credits much of his success to those around him, “I by no means know it all, but I like to surround myself with good folks. When you surround yourself with good people it just makes things work out better.”
So, can 532 bushels per acre of corn production be beat on the quest for maximizing corn yield potential?
“We’ve been fortunate. I would have never thought we’d get much past 400 bushels an acre, but here we are sitting at 500. We were seeing the yield monitor go up into the 600 bushel range, so we know the potential is there.”
“I think there are areas that we can probably do better,” he continued. “”Putting the right product on the right acre. You can be sure, we’re going to try.
“The pressure is on Genesis Ag to keep providing us with more and more good technologies.”